Tuesday, December 15, 2015

1) Cold dark matter: Don’t wait for Papua to explode

2) Cause of deaths of Papuan children revealed
3) Asia’s Human Rights Activists Condemn Brutal Past and Present Call for Brighter Future
4) Ruhut: AGO has Evidence Tying House Speaker to Freeport Scandal

1) Cold dark matter: Don’t  wait for Papua to explode 
Puguh Sadadi, Leicester, UK | Opinion | Tue, December 15 2015, 4:55 PM 

Dec. 1, which many supporters of the West Papuan freedom movement regard as West Papua’s national day, marks the date in 1961 when the New Guinea Council — the West Papuan parliament under Dutch colonial rule — raised the Morning Star flag for the first time. 

The debate whether it was a plot by the Dutch colonial rulers to stir up conflict between the Indonesian government and the West Papuan indigenous people, or a genuine promise to grant independence to West Papua, no longer benefits anyone living in Papua. 

Every year the Morning Star flag is raised or displayed in some areas, sometimes followed by a clash. Especially after the reform movement in 1998, the flag-raising has become a routine occasion for conflict between supporters of the Free West Papua movement and the security forces, especially in Papua and West Papua. The cycle of conflict symbolized by the flag-raising is akin to a hamster spinning around in his wheel, which is not funny at all for the hamster. 

One of the iconic figures in such flag-raising incidents is Filep Jacob Samuel Karma, a Papuan independence activist who helped raise the Morning Star flag on Dec. 1, 2004, in Jayapura. He was then arrested and charged with treason and given a 15-year prison sentence. The case is just a small part of the bigger problem of West Papuan grievances.

Filep was finally released on Nov. 19 this year after 11 years behind bars. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention classified Filep’s detention as “arbitrary”, while Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience. 

The government has sought to reduce secessionist sentiment through democracy and the acceleration of economic and social development. However, it has failed in cultural recognition or to make sincere efforts to help Papuans live a better life since the beginning of Indonesian administration in West Papua, especially after the 1969 Act of Free Choice. 

After the national reform movement of 1998, the two most significant democratic changes in Indonesia have been free and fair elections and decentralization or regional autonomy, and in the case of Papua and West Papua, special autonomy. 

But economic wellbeing has increased demands for political participation, including the preference for an independent West Papua. Public dissatisfaction has been addressed to elected mayors and regents, governors, councilors, and also successive presidents. 

At the extreme level, the combination of factors supporting conflict such as neglecting historical facts, social injustice, a heavy-handed security approach and mounting distrust has metamorphosed into a violent secessionist movement. 

Indonesia’s “success stories” in resolving domestic conflicts in former East Timor and Aceh were a combination of external and internal efforts triggered by very harsh events. In East Timor, the human rights violations and international pressure intertwined with domestic democratization, while in Aceh, the tsunami, external support and domestic realization of the futility of war by both the central government and the Free Aceh Movement led to an agreement to end the conflict. 

With such a limited experience of purely government initiatives in resolving its domestic conflicts, Indonesia needs to strengthen its democracy as the foundation for generating the initial moves in resolving the conflict in Papua. 

With the success of “procedural democracy” through local elections at national, provincial and local levels — the latest on Dec. 9 — elected rulers should be able to create a stronger connection with their voters by recognizing the preferences of the people. “Substantive democracy” should be felt by all citizens of Indonesia. 

After 32 years of authoritarian rule, it is proving difficult to build structures of civic participation based on mutual trust in West Papua and Papua. Although the reform movement turned 17 years old this year, the West Papua issue not only remains but also may reach the state of a “routine conflict”, where the only communication that the conflicting parties understand is violence or to agree to disagree. 

The most difficult part of secessionist problems in a democratic state is the contradiction between freedom of political expression of the secessionist group and national integrity or sovereignty. 

Part of the core of objective national interests of all countries is related to sovereignty over an internationally recognized physical geographic boundary. 

According to Joseph Frankel in his 1970 book, National Interest, objective national interests are those that relate to a nation-state’s ultimate foreign policy goals. 

These are permanent interests, comprising factors such as geography, history, neighbors, resources, population size and ethnicity. A secessionist problem within a democracy deteriorates in the absence of alternative channels of communications apart from incessant argument, diplomatic dispute, violent conflict and symbolic conflicts like the flag-raising issue. 

Once in a philosophy research class, a professor showed a picture of an abstract geometric painting with lighting and shadows. However, as the professor explained, the cold dark matter was actually a garden shed. The shed had been blown up with explosives and all the debris was flying or lying on the floor.

The illustration not only suits the “explosive conflicts” that Indonesia has undergone since its independence, but also reflects the emotion of the conflicting parties. It doesn’t matter where we stand, everybody hurts. The trouble in rearranging the modern democratic Indonesia is somewhat like organizing historical facts, justice, emotions, sadness and bitterness, all in an atmosphere of residual conflict. The effort of the artist to arrest the moment where the pieces of the garden shed are still in the air is like carefully capturing the tangible and intangible factors of the social and political problem. 

In former East Timor, how many social, political, and economic parts of interwoven fabric did Indonesia detonate? In Aceh, the most explosive event was the tsunami by Mother Nature. No one would like to experience another cold dark moment in Papua. 
The writer is a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester, UK. The views expressed are his own.


2) Cause of deaths of Papuan children revealed
thejakartapost.com, Jakarta | Archipelago | Tue, December 15 2015, 1:41 PM - 
Respiratory bacteria and a mosquito-borne virus caused the deaths of dozens of children in Mbuwa district of Nduga regency in Papua, a researcher said, urging people to keep clean to prevent diseases from spreading.
The director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Amin Soebandrio, said recently that laboratory tests on samples taken from the victims showed that pneumococcus and Japanese encephalitis were spreading in the area. These are two common things in Indonesia and children are mostly at high risk of infection.
”Pneumococcus is short for streptococcus pneumonia and it is classified as a bacteria," he said as quoted by Kompas.
Amin said that the pneumococcus bacteria resided in people's respiratory tracts, including in people who were healthy, but normally it did not trigger illness.
"People who are prone of infections are children and the elderly because they have weaker stamina," he said.
The Papua Health Office announced in November that 41 children had died in Nduga regency from an unidentified disease.
The health office and Health Ministry sent teams of doctors, nurses and researchers to investigate the cause of the deaths of the children, who were mostly under the age of 2.
Amin added that for children, the effects caused by streptococcus pneumonia could be pneumonia, hearing impairment and sinus infection.
Infected children could have symptoms such as sore throats, vomiting, fever and seizures. Infected lungs could lead to death.
Amin said that that there was vaccine for the bacteria, but it is not part of the government's immunization program since the vaccine is expensive and the government is still studying its effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the Japanese encephalitis virus could be transferred from humans to animals or vice versa, Amin said.
The virus was usually found in wild pigs and poultry and it infected people through mosquito bites. Fever is its usual symptom.
He said that if the virus attacked nerve tissue, the probability of death could reach 60 percent. Still, most patients could be cured.
Children to teenagers are prone to this virus if they have a weakened immune system.
Amin urged everyone to keep a clean neighborhood and to clean pigsties regularly as that would be the best preventions for the disease.
"To prevent mosquitos from breeding," he said, adding that the treatment for the disease was similar to treating fever. (rin)(+)


3) Asia’s Human Rights Activists Condemn Brutal Past and Present Call for Brighter Future
By : Donny Andhika Mononimbar | on 6:38 PM December 15, 2015

A Papuan activist commemorates the West Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch rule in Jakarta on Dec. 1, 2015. (Reuters Photo/Darren Whiteside)

Jakarta. Recipients of the Gwangju Human Rights award took part in a two-day "Torture and Violence in Asia" workshop in Indonesia, hosted by activist organizations to highlight the dire human rights violations committed across Asia.
The recipients — hailing from Nepal, Bangladesh, Iran, Sri Lanka, India, Laos and Indonesia — were joined by human rights monitor Imparsial, the May 18 Memorial Foundation and the Indonesian Association of the Families of the Disappeared (IKOHI).
Scores of Indonesia's human rights abuse cases have yet to be investigated, including the 1965/66 anti-communist massacres, the disappearance of dozens of human rights activists and the deaths of university students during the 1998 Jakarta riots.
The lack of response and accountability from the government has allowed those responsible for these heinous crimes to go unpunished, activists say.
Current human rights concerns in Indonesia also go unreported and are rarely investigated — particularly in Papua, they added

"The human rights situation in Papua has shown no progress," said Imparsial chief Poengky Indarti.
"Development programs introduced by the government tend to be pro-investment rather than pro-people. This inequality worsens human rights abuses," added Latifah Anum Siregar, chairwoman of the Alliance for Democracy in Papua and an expert on the Commission for Law and Human Rights for Papua.
"For Papua, we urge the Indonesian government to hold peace dialogues and stop the use of torture. We also encourage Indonesia to open the province up to foreign journalists."
Unresolved human rights atrocities are common across the continent, spurring activists from across the region to join their Indonesian counterparts in highlighting the need for transparency.
"Irom Sharmila Chanu, a human rights defender, has been detained by the Indian government. He has been on a hunger protests for 16 years because of AFSPA [a law targeting 'threats' to national security]. The UN Human Rights Committee has requested the Indian government lift AFSPA, but [official] just turned their [heads]," said Sushil Raj Pyakurel, a prominent human rights activist from Nepal and recipient of the 2010 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights (GPHR).
Governments around the region have introduced similar repressive laws to ban the use of Skype, social media and other websites. Drones and torture are used as enforcement in some countries, most rigidly in Bangladesh which has cracked down on personal liberties in the name of national security, activists said.
According to data from the Asian Federation Against Disappearances (AFAD), around 60 percent of the world's enforced disappearances occur in Asia, with Pakistan and Sri Lanka topping the list with thousands of citizens missing.
The eight laureates presented a united front in calling on governments across Asia to end torture and increase efforts to solving past atrocities while also preventing them from happening in the future.
Ratification of the United Nation's International Convention on Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance is crucial, they said.


TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER, 2015 | 20:30 WIB
4) Ruhut: AGO has Evidence Tying House Speaker to Freeport Scandal
TEMPO.COJakarta - Democrat Party politician Ruhut Sitompul claimed that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) is in possession of two evidence - enough for the Prosecutors to start an investigation into the suspected corruption in the lobbies made by House of Representatives (House) Chairman, Setya Novanto. Sitompul also claimed that he maintains communication with Chief Prosecutor M. Prasetyo pertaining to the case, as they are both members of the House's Legal Commission.
"[Prasetyo] will act on these evidence, I'm sure of it. Especially considering that we already have two evidences," said Ruhut at the Parliamentary Complex on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. Ruhut also mentioned that he is certain that Novanto will be removed from his position as House Speaker. "If we lose at the Ethics Council, but the AGO names him as a suspect, then he will be removed from his position," Ruhut said.
Ruhut also called on his fellow legislators to draw the line between a recording, and wire-tapping - saying that there are no laws in place to forbid recordings, before making his support for PT Freeport Indonesia's President Director, Maroef Syamsuddin - who has recently made headlines for his refusal to allow the AGO to release the original recording to the Ethics Council. "He obviously knew how hostile the situation is - especially considering the behaviour of Ethics Councils members from the Golkar party in recent hearings," Ruhut said.
Previously, Setya Novanto's standing in the Parliament is challenged by the ethics violations alleged by the Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Sudirman Said. He has been broadly viewed to have violated the DPR's ethical code for meeting with the President Director of PT Freeport Indonesia, Maroef Syamsuddin, along with oil-tycoon, M Riza Chalid to discuss PT Freeport Indonesia's contract extensions. During the conversation, Novanto repeatedly cited President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla's names.

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